Head: Vintage Annihilator
Torso: Corps! figure
Arms: Spy Troops Zartan modified with shoulder pauldrons from dollar store figure
Waist: Unknown G.I. Joe new sculpt figure
Legs: Swamp Rat
Airborne Assault Pack: Chap Mei

The original Annihilator figure fell into the same trap as a lot of the later year Real American Hero era figures: an interesting sculpt marred by appalling colors. To this day, the mix of orange and purple look ridiculous to me, especially when applied to a figure that was meant to serve as Destro's elite trooper. Had this figure been released in black, red and gold to match its compatriots, it might have been marked as a triumph. Instead, it stands as a fruit-flavored curiosity that just begs to be revisited by customizers.

A straightforward repaint of the figure has a lot to offer, but when I was thinking how I might replace the original backpack with something more substantial, I decided to put everything aside except the distinctive helmet. With its braided cords and decorative belt buckle, the original Annihilator had a pleasing ceremonial look, great for a dress uniform, but a poor choice for a soldier in the field. To correct some of those missteps, I wanted to provide the Annihilator with an oxygen source during flight and light armor for protection. I also wanted to keep the twin leg holsters found on the original, but make them functional and more aesthetically pleasing. The result is a mix of parts that combine the look of a Navy SEAL with the high-tech flourishes of the Iron Grenadiers. More than just an airborne trooper, I see this version of the Annihilator as a soldier who is effective in multiple environments with a mobile air platform as one means of transport rather than a specialty unto itself.

The flight platform that accompanies the figure is a repaint of a Chap Mei hover vehicle, with a few details added to improve its standing balance. The twin fans of the hover platform seemed to keep the spirit of the vintage figure's helicopter pack, but upgraded it to something more visually and structurally substantial. It may not be more realistic than the backpack, but it packs a bit more firepower and looks good doing it.

The Iron Grenadiers are a great faction for a customizer to work with. They're small enough that there's room for new ideas, and they have a number of poorly executed figures that beg to be revisited. The Annihilator benefits from both those aspects. It was a lot of fun to work on this figure, and it won't be my last exploration of this faction.

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